Olfactory Consults

Olfactory Consults

Recently, much has been discussed about the loss of the sense of smell in the early stages of COVID-19.  This reminds me of my introduction to the art of olfactory diagnosis.

Almost 50 years ago, I was a medical student at a New York City hospital where some of the old buildings still had elevator operators. There was one woman operator who was known to the medical students (because she would ask us questions) whose trichomonas urinary tract infections were obvious as soon as we entered her elevator. 

As a practicing pediatrician for over 35 years in Florida, there were many times that I would walk into the exam room and I could immediately recognize the smell of the streptococcal bacteria causing the child’s throat infection. Before they even told me why they had come in to see me, I would ask them, “How long have you had a sore throat?” and they would think I was psychic. 

2 thoughts on “Olfactory Consults

  1. Last February my daughter and daughter-in-law both lost their sense of smell and of taste. At that time no one knew that could mean Covid. They had the disease before most of us knew it existed.

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    1. But olfactory dysfunction is a known effect of even common colds. There are many common cold viruses that make you lose the sense of smell and/or taste temporarily (and sometimes permanently).

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